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Vote Lib Dem, doom humanity to extinction

No nukes = 65% UK power imports. And asteroid doomsday

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Opinion

Tomorrow is election day, and on most issues the politicians aren't offering you any clear choices. Nobody's being open regarding what they'll do about the public finances, for instance: more than one politician has revealed total ignorance combined with terrifying eagerness to make policy.

But on one issue there is a clear choice to make. That's nuclear technology: not just weapons, but nuclear power too. The Liberal Democrats, stepping well away from the main parties, have stated as clearly as politicians ever do that they would kill off the UK's nuclear industry and that they are against replacing Trident.

In theory, the Libs are open to some unspecified UK nuclear force after Trident: but it would be carried by cruise missiles or something even less capable. In the context of actually deterring someone from attacking the UK, this sort of force is hugely less useful than proper submarine-based ICBMs; so much so as to be not really worth having, especially as it would tend to cost more, not less.

Consider what follows, with Nick Clegg or a similarly-inclined Prime Minister, following an ICBM strike on the UK. Rule out action by our allies: the aggressor nation still has missiles left, and regardless of NATO commitments nobody is going to be next on the nuclear chopping block merely to avenge shattered Britain. This, indeed, is probably why disarmed or partly-disarmed Britain would be hit rather than Israel or America: because of the most hated targets, it was the only one that would be safe to strike.

If the possible responding British cruise missiles were launched from surviving patrol subs, they would be likely to take weeks to get into position. If they were carried by bomber aircraft that had somehow survived a first strike on the UK they would need consent from intervening nations to fly over and/or refuel, very difficult to obtain in such circumstances.

In both cases, as cruise missiles are not that difficult to shoot down, a large and expensive number of missiles and warheads (and subs or aircraft) would be required to be sure of a nation-wrecking strike. With anti-aircraft technology spreading around the world, in fact, certain retribution would require such a huge bomber or submarine fleet that it would cost more than simply replacing Trident.

So the Lib Dem weapons plans equate to abandonment of actual deterrence, the only valid reason for having nuclear arms. And indeed many Lib Dems make no secret that their plan is, in fact, unilateral disarmament by the UK.

As for the idea that giving up one's own nukes encourages others to do the same, surely the way the number of nuclear armed nations has been climbing recently - even as the major powers have cut their arsenals - shows how foolish this is. Even President Obama's recent negotiation with Russia only achieves its widely-trumpeted numbers cuts by fudging the definition of nuclear weapons - and leaving the door open, in fact, for Russia to increase its arsenal.

Many Labour MPs, too, are known to personally desire unilateral disarmament no matter what their party leadership thinks (and no matter what Labour voters think). If enough Lib Dem MPs join them in parliament tomorrow we may see a House of Commons that wants to disarm, regardless of what the Prime Minister or the electorate want.

Voters who don't want nuclear disarmament shouldn't vote Liberal, it's as simple as that - attractive as some of their other ideas might be.

Then there's the matter of nuclear power. Again, the choice is clear: a vote for the Lib Dems is a vote against nuclear.

In theory, this could be seen as a vote for a renewables-powered Blighty. But there are terrible problems with that as a plan: Professor J C MacKay of Cambridge University, one of the more rigorous examiners of low-carbon energy plans for the UK, suggests that a carbon-free Britain would have to import 64 per cent of its electricity assuming no nuclear power and a merely hugely-increased number of wind turbines. He describes this as "Plan L... because I think it aligns fairly well with the current policies of the Liberal Democrats".

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